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REVIEW / Sanyo PLV-Z800

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Florent Alzieu Published on June 22, 2010
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SPECIFICATIONS

  • Technology Tri-LCD
  • Resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Brightness 1200 lumens
  • Contrast 10000
  • Lamp life 0.83333333333333 hrs
  • Sound level 21 dB
At the same time as it launched the PLV-Z4000, Sanyo also brought out a less high-end projector, the PLV-Z800, a follow-up to its earlier PLV-Z700.  The new projector is a tri-LCD, Full HD 1080p model that sits in the entry-level to mid-range sector of the market.  It's got a lot in common with its ancestor, but still includes a few minor changes.

Hardware & Handling: a flawless performance

Like the PLV-Z3000, PLV-Z4000 and PLV-Z700 before it, this projector is incredibly user-friendly.  The only real change since the previous version is the reduction in energy consumption while on standby, which falls from 1.1 W to 0.3 W, which is great news.  Below, you can see how far its lens-shift stretches in each direction.  It's as impressive as it's big brother, and one of the best projectors (if not the very best) that we've ever tested.

Lens shift: the broken line shows the default projection zone and the
coloured blocks show the furthest it goes in each direction

Image Quality: plenty of detail but blacks are washed-out

Choosing the PLV-Z800 instead of the PLV-Z4000 involves compromising on the depth of the blacks in the projected image, but that was already the case with the previous generation, with the PLV-Z3000 performing better than the PLV-Z700 in this area.


Compare the Sanyo PLV-Z800 to other projectors in our Product Face-Off

The black levels really don't stand up well to comparison with the PLV-Z800's big brother, with the letterboxing above and below widescreen films looking particularly washed-out, and even purple in some cases.  And the numbers prove it: 0.80 cd/m² of black compared to the Z4000's 0.21 cd/m².  The Z800's brighter white levels can't get round this problem.  Comparisons with a competing model like the Epson EH-TW2900 aren't particularly favourable either.  The latter offers blacks of 0.64 cd/m², which is better, but still not excellent.

Electronic noise present in video is very well handled, but a little more visible than on the Z4000.  That's probably down to the higher brightness, which makes it more visible.

Bright areas are also done well, with no overexposure in even the lightest parts of the frame.

For upscaling and 1080p, we've got exactly the same thing to say as for the PLV-Z4000: you're better off leaving the job to a DVD player or a games console.  Native 1080p video is as sharp on this projector as it is on its big brother, and it's definitely not a factor you can use to distinguish between the two.

Image fluidity and 3D:
there's no system for improving the fluidity of fast-moving images on this projector, but it's hardly a big loss given how weak the Z4000 was in this area.
Our Settings
The 'x.v colour' and 'Authentic' modes which are available on the PLV-Z4000 aren't an option here, but, fortunately, the 'Natural' mode which we prefer is available. That's where we started tweaking the settings.

Colour Temperature: increase the red level to +6 and decrease blue to -5.

Contrast: turn it down to -3.

Gamut: we couldn't change anything by adjusting the colour settings here, so it's better to leave things as they are. If you have the specialist equipment, you can also calibrate the projector, but to do so, you'll have to use the settings menu to switch to advanced mode.

PROS

  • Reduced energy consumption on standby
  • Very wide lens-shift
  • Backlit remote with lots of options
  • Quiet
  • Electronic noise well handled

CONS

  • No filter to improve fluidity of moving images
  • Gamut too wide in the green area
  • Blacks are washed out
  • Upscaling could be better

CONCLUSION 4/5

The main consequence of choosing the PLV-Z800 is compromising on the depth of the blacks. In just about every other area, it's comparable to its big brother, the PLV-Z4000 and is even slightly brighter. Compared to its predecessor, the PLV-Z700, the only real change is a reduction in energy consumption while on standby.
4 Sanyo PLV-Z800 DigitalVersus 2010-06-22 00:00:00
Compare: Sanyo PLV-Z800 to its competitors
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